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Judith Berkson, a composer, singer, and pianist based in NYC, has been honing her Liederkreis project since 2016, which features electronically-augmented vocal interpretations of lieder by such composers as Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, as well as purely electronic pieces engaging noise and feedback-oriented vignettes. This new release finds Judith continuing a more song-oriented approach, as previously explored on her 2010 ECM release Oylam. The pieces contained on Liederkreis II are deeply haunting, timbrally sensuous, and a notably divergent aesthetic for Notice Recordings. Judith is taking her electronically-processed vocals and conforming them to the slowly dripping, contorted melodies of Schubert and Schumann’s lieder, firmly within the lineage of such artists as Klaus Nomi and Kraftwerk. Liederkreis II exists as a commentary of a hypermodern relationship with classical music: both an admiration and a recontextualisation. This is music that is at once both personal and emotional, and formal and mechanical. It is both beautiful and anxious. It is within this contrast that the album retains such an alluring presence, and we are honored to facilitate its existence.
Liederkreis - voice, electronics, synthesizer
Recorded and mastered at Menegroth the Thousand Caves by Colin Marston. Woodhaven, Queens, New York
Castle is an interpretation of Liederkreis op. 39 No. 7 Auf einer Burg by Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Doppelgänger, Harpers, Suns, Der Kreuzzug are interpretations of lieder by Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Thank you to Franz, Franke, Sigmund, Saul, Robert and Clara and Joseph Gabriel Esther Maneri
Artwork by E. Lindorff-Ellery"Relaxing in the Desert Under an Overcast Sky in the Sunset", 2020evanlindorffellery.com
Letterpress printed by Small Fires Press, New Orleanssmallfirespress.com
Judith Berkson – Liederkreis II
Portland, Ore. musician and naturalist Loren Chasse has a long and varied history within the more organic and textural branches of drone and sound art. Comprising pregnant field recordings, tense drone whispers, and wispy layers of texture, The Sodden Floor’s dark superimpositions drift between momentary dread and almost childlike abstraction. They seem composed with an eye on cinema: sounds drift into focus and then cut or pan away; the resulting shifts constitute a dreamlike presence only sustainable within an ephemeral world, one documented with a half-awake awareness — leaving or coming — but always accepting the flittering yet immovable mise-en-scène aesthetic of non-existence.
"Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Loren Chasse has long created and curated music with lots of delicacy and otherness. His new solo cassette mixes improvisations on his grandfather’s melodeon with a heavily weighted atmosphere of darkness. Feels like it was recorded in a haunted, bell-strung, moss-crusted cabin. For all we know, it was." - Byron Coley, The Wire
Loren Chasse – The Sodden Floor
Space Collective 2 Live commemorates Portuguese musician Rafael Toral’s first U.S. tour in several years. Since the 1990s, Toral has been primarily known for his guitar work, but has since been working on the Space Program project, within which he has probed visceral and personal components of electronic music performance, and how they relate to the performer's experience, not to the resultant product.These recordings, taken from a live set at All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2012, find Toral performing with drummer Afonso Simões, developing sparse, deep textures with triggers and modular oddities. Smartly paced and absolutely blistering at times, this set touches on a variety of surprising tones: flute-like expressions, spacey warbles, and intricately patterned arpeggios that dissolve into drone sections with confrontational sonic palettes.
Rafael Toral / electronicsAlfonso Simões / drums
---Artwork and layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Fitzgerald Letterpress
1. Part I - 17:232. Part II - 13:38
Rafael Toral – Space Collective 2 Live
Although living in separate European countries, Akama (electronics) and Duplant (organ, electronics) have forged a strong musical bond on a handful of collaborative releases, often with titles related to nothingness, which, in turn, mirrors the minimal, contemplative drone pieces contained therein. As its own titling suggests, immobilité (“immobility”) extends their musical concerns, and distills them in an extraordinarily rich way. More textural than event-based, these pieces are exquisitely paced to complement their roomy, crackling palette. Starting from two points—Duplant’s minimal score and his own parts—Akama reaches for more synthetic sounds than she has in the past. Duplant has resisted being labeled as a Wandelweiser composer. There is an element here that’s more personal to this duo, even down to the ticking of a clock. immobilité is a purposeful new statement from two artists who enthusiastically acknowledge their musical kinship.
Ryoko Akama / electronicsBruno Duplant / organ, electronics
---Fue Akama - DrawingLayout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Fitzgerald Letterpress
Ryoko Akama & Bruno Duplant – Immobilite
Kahn (American, living in Zurich) and Olive (Canadian, living in Japan) recorded these pieces while on tour in Japan in May 2014. This release features two unhurried explorations for radio, synthesizer, and mixing board (Kahn) and magnetic pickups (Olive). “Fukuoka,” presents a series of gradual unfurlings; pockets of pockmarked, dented and torn glass clusters, tumbling upon and over each other, perhaps briefly interlocking by way of some fragile barb, only to instantaneously break loose. “Osaka” is more comfortably structured, framed by a few small squalls abetting the range of synth and radio static; an instrumentation that resides between thin layers of shifting, jittery translucent timbres.Kahn and Olive both demonstrate exceptional attention to unrecognized sounds (see Kahn's ongoing Unheard Cities project), and one of the unique attributes of these pieces is their ability to make sounds whose sources, even with limited tools, aren't quite placeable. Their sound palette occasionally finds tension between understood words and speech as sound: hearing a sound that may or may not be speech, and speech that may or may not be understandable. They possess a unique resourcefulness on this release that makes it a surprising listen.
Jason Kahn / analogue synthesizer, radio, mixing board, mixing, masteringTim Olive / magnetic pickups
---Mixed and mastered by Jason KahnArtwork, layout - E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Fitzgerald Letterpress
Jason Kahn & Tim Olive – Fukuoka / Osaka
Vancouver-based composer Joda Clément has been widely praised for qualities in his work that could be described as natural: unassuming complexity that elegantly reduces, and an indifference to overt emotional direction. I hope you like the universe brilliantly continues this path, as Clément blends field recordings, shifting synth textures, and instrumental performance. These pieces vividly suggest both exterior and interior environments and the boundaries between them, like peering through layers of windowpanes from inside a still room. Here, Clément’s work is both industrial and intriguingly human, hinting at people and actions that might create certain daytime and nighttime sound environments while resisting identification.
Joda Clement / korg PS3200 and MS20, field recordings, harmonium, electromagnetic feedback
---Mastered by Joe PanznerArtwork and layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Fitzgerald Letterpress
Joda Clement – I hope you like the universe
On Hot Shaker Meet Lead Donut, Prants – the duo of Chris Cooper and Bhob Rainey – fan out beyond established positions as prankish, innovative improvisers. As ever, musical playfulness and seriousness coexist marvelously, but the fascinating atmosphere has mutated further beyond traditional instrumental performance. Squelchy synth madness, howling squeals, and minimal note-making are fastened onto recorded snippets and quietly drifting drones, built deceptively within the formality of collage. Embracing a structured impulsiveness, these pieces provide a jaggedly damaged new angle on the dynamic and textural extremes that have made the musicians’ work so engaging in the past.
"Who is Prants? Is it a typo? Are we talking about Pants? But no, it’s no typo; it’s a duo, a collection of two humans doing a thing together! Prants features two TMT favorites, Bhob Rainey (of nmperign, The BSC, and so on) and Chris Cooper (Angst Hase Pfeffer Naser, Caroliner, Fat Worm of Error), making sounds together. They’ve got a new cassette containing the sounds they’ve made together and recorded, and it’s called Shaker Meet Lead Donut. It’s available now on Bandcamp and from Notice Recordings.
Marked by what the press materials call a “structured impulsiveness,” the two sides of the limited tape (only 100 copies out there!) zip and buzz in all sorts of jagged directions. The second piece, entitled “Igotu Otius,” features contributions from Mary Lattimore and Jesse Sparhawk on harps, June Bender on viola, Eric Coyne on cello, and Matt Stein on contrabass. It also credits “various” with “dry ice.” I don’t know exactly how that works, but I’m into it. If you’re familiar with Rainey’s free-improv maybe-kinda-sorta-possibly jazz work or with Cooper’s sound-stacking whack-attacks, then you can probably form at least a tentative notion of what you’re in for, but no slouching!" - Tiny Mix Tapes
Performed and mixed by Bhob Rainey and Chris CooperOn Igotu Otius you shall hearCello - Eric CoyneContrabass - Matt SteinHarp - Jesse Sparhawk, Mary LattimoreViola - June BenderDry Ice - VariousMastered by Bhob RaineyArtwork and layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Fitzgerald Letterpress
Prants – Hot Shaker Meet Lead Donut
Since the mid-aughts, Chicago trio Haptic (Adam Sonderberg, Joseph Clayton Mills, and Steven Hess—this time around featuring Salvatore Dellaria and The Necks’ Tony Buck) has delivered riveting, meticulously controlled live sets, as well as a handful of releases mainly on the Entr’acte label, all of which reflect the group’s unique attitudes toward collaboration and structure. This release features material sourced from a variety of past recordings; they are without form and yet architectural, and just as uniquely engaging as the group’s previous work.From the perspective of Notice, Haptic’s mixture of the organic and the industrial has been profoundly influential, and could even be said to define a quintessential Chicago ethos channeled through dark ambience: roiling waves of density, structure, work, beauty, and oppression constantly overtaking each other. However, the final silence will always be present—and is expected—just like the spare, steady late-night call of a single circling black bird.
"While Sonderberg has recently returned to Chicago and Haptic to the stage, neither was the case when they assembled Excess of Vision. They took leftover, previously unused recordings from throughout their existence, including some early improvisations with Necks drummer Tony Buck and contributions from Salvatore Dellaria, and assembled them into a sonic comment upon their discontinuous state. On “So for the Remainder,” which takes up all of side one of this album length cassette, the long, slowly evolving tones that used to get Haptic rather reductively characterized as a drone outfit are once more presented. But they are layered, interleaved, and twisted together so that they interfere with each other and are in constant low-key flux. Heard inattentively, it might seem that nothing is happening, but if you get close enough you’ll notice that the constancy is an illusion." - Bill Meyer, Dusted
Performed by Steven Hess, Joseph Clayton Mills, and Adam Sonderberg with Tony Buck (I) and Salvatore Dellaria (II)Assembled by Mills/SonderbergMixed by SonderbegMastered by Tomas KorberArtwork and layout by E. Lindorff-Ellery
Haptic – Excess of Vision
Two sets of music by Chik White, an alias of Darcy Spidle, whose Nova Scotia-based Divorce Records has been slinging LPs of sonic bemusement since 1999. Jaw Works is made up of solo jaw harp performances, wringing mesmerizing detail from variations in rhythm and tempo, while achieving a wide variety of barely believable, almost synthesized-sounding timbres. Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore also features the jaw harp, albeit in concert with the North Atlantic Ocean, which inspired the more minimal, rhythmic pieces performed on the shore. Organic and personal, this is folk music created by a single person in his environment, using the most basic of musical tools.
"The immense, magical strangeness of the jaw harp – man, that twanging, cartoonish sproing – fuels this release. It’s essentially a series of brief exercises. On Side A, the Nova Scotia-based White cycles through variations on his daily practice; on Side B, he improvises along a shoreline. Since each track is no briefer than 50 seconds and no longer than four minutes, a game freshness reigns and there is never a sense that the artist is repeating himself: the coiled spritely bounce of “Hiding In A Dead Tree” is as distinct from the breathy, fading hesitancy of “Dreamer’s Words” or the steady, strident vibrations of “Dreamer’s Question.” White’s tones sidle from hypnagogic to inquisitive to – in the case of “Cliff Collapsing Slowly” – downright cybernetic, the echoed thrumming contrasting deliciously with the ceaseless crash and dispersion of waves. “Meditative” is a descriptor that’s thrown around a lot in experimental or drone music, but it’s rarely this earned, even as a crepuscular unease lurks at the edges of this cassette." - Cassettegods
Artwork, layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Minuteman Press
Chik White – Jaw Works & Behind a Dead Tree on the Shore
Samuel Rodgers (co-curator of Consumer Waste) pairs up with sound artist Jack Harris on two explorations of minimal performance and sound creation. Working in a semi-urban ambience—open windows, barking dogs, distant sirens—the duo suggest both a specific location and a generic one. Their previous work has explored tensions between analogue and digital processes; here, sounds remain mainly non-instrumental in source: amplified object manipulation, cable hum, and different types of feedback intrude upon room tone at various intervals, like heavy clusters of dry floating leaves settling on transparent pillows. These pieces blur definitions of action and performance, and call into contemplation the intention of sound-making and what defines its “success,” while repeatedly upending expectations about pace and content.
"For me these works seem characterised by a growing tension, hinting at some kind of terror lying just under the mundane surfaces of our everyday lives, unnamed and just out of the reach of our comprehension. Or perhaps these are instead extremely focused works of art, Harris and Rodgers investigating the peculiar sonic properties of the non-instruments they’re deploying – and the spaces in which they’re deploying – with the tension coming from the friction between the restraint of their near-silent playing and the potential for cathartic release from letting rip with some serious high-voltage noise." - We Need New Swords
Performed by Samuel Rodgers and Jack HarrisRecorded, mixed, and mastered by Samuel RodgersArtwork, layout by E. Lindorff-Ellery
Samuel Rodgers & Jack Harris – Primary Unit
Upon seeing Ryan Jewell’s patient, rigorous and riveting performance at Chicago’s very first Neon Marshmallow festival, we were fascinated by his meticulous sonic explorations falling somewhere in-between percussion, minimalism and electronic composition. Several years on, Jewell, still based in Columbus, OH, has continued to build an impressive resume as a co-conspirator with all sorts of people. Populated by acoustic textures, percussion-based sonic events, and unconventionally performed sounds, the assuredly paced solo pieces in Radio: Vol. 2 reveal Jewell as the yin to the noisier side of the Ohio scene.
"On the first track, "O-O" (recorded in 2010), the world is one of acid sizzles and a rough, rubbed sound that occasionally grows into quasi-vocal moans that remind me very much of the nocturnal, unconscious murmurings of Robert Ashley in his "Automatic Writing" and is similarly disturbing. It's not that shifts of focus don't occur; they do, but feel absolutely appropriate, like moving smoothly to an adjacent, related space, here one where the rubbing becomes more vivid and stone-like, achieving a fine, near-chaotic state, ending with a couple minutes of soft, brushy sound and a punctuative clunk. The second side of the cassette, "OO" (2009), sounds more purely percussive to me and is even more concentrated, Jewell producing, through rubbing both smooth and rough, wonderful nests of sounds existing somewhere between tones and rapid rhythms, rising periodically to a frightening wail. He spends the entire cut right in almost the same spot, not generating anything new or spectacular but, better, letting the richness of what he's initially discovered sink in. That's something I greatly appreciate, wish it happened more often. Excellent work, highly recommended." - Brian Olewnick
Performed by Ryan Jewell. Mastered by Joe Panzner. Cover drawing by Virginia Lawrence, additional artwork and layout by E. Lindorff-Ellery.
Ryan Jewell – Radio - Vol 2
Focusing on the electronic element from his live performances, Mueller uses snare drum, gongs, and tape to craft long-form minimalist drones that are constantly shifting and morphing even in their sameness. A companion to his The Whole LP (Type Records) and live performances that documents this extraordinary phase of his work.
"Continuing down the path taken in other recent recordings of his, one that more or less parallels that trodden in recent years by Jason Kahn, Mueller works with steady rhythms, building dense layers of cymbals (played with either soft mallets or fingers) and drums (generally heard in roll patterns). The obsessive nature can yield handsome dividends when the elements lose their individuality and fuse into a storm of near-chaotic but always forward-propelled sound as is the case on the second and fourth tracks of this cassette release. More with this kind of release than many, one really would like to experience this music in a live setting so as to be immersed in the shimmering waves and beats. Still and all, very enjoyable at home." - Brian Olewnick
Jon Mueller / percussion, tapes
Artwork by E. Lindorff-ElleryPackaging concept by Travis Bird
Jon Mueller – Halves